On any given day, a simple, quiet message from God can make all the difference…but only if we hear it. So, the question is: How do we do it?

Psalm 85 declares confidently: “I will hear what God the Lord will speak.” Wanting to know more about this kind of hearing, I hunted down the original Hebrew word on my Touch Bible app to get its full meaning. I discovered that shama’ means hearing intelligently, hearing spiritually, giving undivided attention, and that it can also include agreeing with what is said and obeying it.

Now that, I thought, is an excellent description of how I’d like to receive what my daughter Meghan Williams calls those “downloads from heaven.” But in the clamor of this busy, media-saturated world, giving undivided attention to the “still small voice” that resonates at our heart’s core can be difficult. When we’re plugging through life on autopilot, it just doesn’t happen. But what if, instead of reacting with annoyance when our agenda is interrupted or thwarted, we turn aside for a moment to “hear what God the Lord will speak”? On some occasions, I’ve seen that kind of hearing change the picture dramatically.

For instance, one cloudy spring afternoon, I had just stretched out for a much-needed nap only to be accosted by the roar of one jumbo jet after another passing seemingly inches above our roof. Being a light sleeper, I was more than slightly bothered by it—bothered, that is, until I heard that inner voice gently addressing me. “Would you be feeling this way if you were hearing birds twittering or a breeze blowing?” I had to admit that I wouldn’t. Birds and breezes seemed to me beautiful glimpses of God’s creation, so how could they annoy me? But those jets were just noisy man-made machines. That was an altogether different matter.

What I heard next, however, turned me around a full 180 degrees: “Where do you think the designers of these amazing high-speed aircraft got their intelligence? Who gave those flight attendants their compassion, patience, and consideration? Who gave those travelers the wise, or loving, or productive purpose of their journey?” Suddenly I found myself in awe of what, moments before, had seemed just an annoyance. I literally began to love and appreciate those planes and to embrace them in my concept of God’s creation. Not surprisingly, I was soon peacefully resting.

I’ve had many opportunities since then to apply the message I heard that day to other, more challenging situations. It taught me how to view the very circumstance I was resenting from a more inclusive, even appreciative, God-perspective. And I know such messages are always here to be heard if only I’m willing to give them my loving. undivided attention.

I love hearing about the messages people hear from Him and the difference they make. I hope you’ll post one of your own in the comments below.